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15 AMAZING AND UNIQUE PLACES TO VISIT IN GEORGIA



Wondering what to see in Georgia and where to go in this beautiful country in the Caucasus? After spending almost one year here, I made a list of the 15 best and most beautiful places to visit in Georgia.

Post originally published in July 2017. Updated in March 2021.

Georgia, a land of rock and stone, medieval fortresses and monasteries, green hills, majestic mountains, deep caves and rocky beaches.

A country where culture and history lovers will have the feeling they’ve been transported to the past while walking through the villages and towns.

Outdoor lovers will be amazed by the stunning landscapes of the mountains and every traveler will experience the incredible hospitality of the people and will be treated to a feast of delicious food and wine (and the additional hangover).



Here are the top 15 places and the best cities to visit in Georgia, recommended by a traveler and a local!

In this post you will find:

  • The best places to visit in Georgia

    • 1. Tbilisi

    • 2. Mtskheta

    • 3. Vardzia

    • 4. Uplistsikhe

    • 5. Katskhi Pillar

    • 6. Chiatura

    • 7. Batumi

    • 8. Ushguli & other villages in Svaneti

    • 9. Omalo & other villages in Tusheti


  • Top places to visit in Georgia, recommended by a local:

    • 10. Sighnagi

    • 11. Shatili Khevsureti

    • 12. Juta, Chaukhi (2200m)

    • 13. Kazbegi

    • 14.The Canyons of Martvili

    • 15. Bakhmaro



THE BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN GEORGIA


Experience the best of Georgia in 15 days!


1. TBILISI

Tbilisi is the capital city and one of the best cities in Georgia to visit! Tbilisi lies on the banks of the Mtkvari (also known as the Kura) river and is surrounded by hills and mountains. It has been the capital of Georgia since the 6th century and its diverse architecture reflects its long and complicated history.



The Kura River in Tbilisi

One of the best ways to appreciate this unique place is to wander its streets, especially in the colorful Old Town.



During your walk in the city you’ll come across over-renovated and hyper-modern buildings but you’ll also find yourself in a warren of backstreets surrounded by ramshackled buildings that are beautiful in their own unique way.


Make sure you walk (or take the cable car) to the Narikala Fortress where you can enjoy the stunning panorama over the city.


Panoramic View over Tbilisi



Taking the cable car at sunset – one of the top attractions in Tbilisi!




2. MTSKHETA

Mtskheta is the religious capital, the spiritual heart and therefore the most important city of Georgia. It used to be the capital city before King Gorgasali changed his base to Tbilisi.


It’s also one of the oldest cities in Georgia, where 4000-year-old traces of human settlements were found. Mtskheta is home to three of Georgia’s most important churches: Svetitskhoveli (try to say this 3x in a row…), Jvari and Samtavro Monastery.



Overlooking Mtskheta from Jvari Monastery


Important Note: if you want to enter the churches, dress appropriately! Men aren’t allowed to wear shorts or hats while women have to wear a long skirt and cover their hair with a scarf.




3. VARDZIA

Vardzia is a spectacular cave monastery near Aspindza in southern Georgia. It looks like one of the movie sets of Lord of the Rings, although it wasn’t the home of dwarves but of many monks.



This underground monastery was built in the 12th Century, under the reign of King Tamar, the first woman that was ever crowned as a king (not a queen!) in Georgian history. It used to be completely hidden until a severe earthquake exposed and destroyed the cave monastery.







4. UPLISTSIKHE

Uplistsikhe is located in eastern Georgia, about 100 km from Tbilisi. It literally means “Lord’s Fortress” and it’s an abandoned rock-hewn town that is more than 3000 years old. It was founded around 1000 BC and was continuously inhabited until the 13th century AD. At one point Uplistsikhe even had 20000 inhabitants!



The cave city covers an area of almost 40.000 m2 and used to have a pharmacy, a bakery, an amphitheater and even a prison. All the structures are connected by tunnels.



On top of the whole complex is a church that was built in the 9th century. This colorful building sticks out against the gray and sober caves.





5. KATSKHI PILLAR

Georgia doesn’t only have unique places on the ground or in the mountains, but also in the air. Take the Katskhi Pillar, for example, a 40-meter high limestone monolith that is also known as “the Pillar of Life”.


Around the 4th century, this rock became a place of seclusion for the ‘Stylites’, a religious group who had a “slight” obsession with sitting on top of narrow pillars to come closer to God.


How they got up on the Katskhi Pillar and were able to build a church on top of there is still a big mystery!

It was only in 1945 that the first researchers were able to climb it. Oh, and the most extraordinary thing: a monk has been living on top of that remote pillar for 20 years!


Read more about him and this incredible pillar in Katskhi Pillar – the most incredible cliff church in the world.




6. CHIATURA

Another point of interest in Georgia is Chiatura, a small town nestled between steep valleys and deep gorges.



Chiatura was founded in the late 1800’s as a mining colony. In 1954 the Stalinist government installed a system of cable cars, also referred to as a “rope road” to get the workers more quickly to the mines, instead of them walking to the sites on the steep cliffs.


Every corner of the town was connected with the mines through these cable cars and Chiatura became known as “the cable car city”.


Most of these cable cars have rusted away but there are still some of these “air tramways” functioning today as a form of (free) public transportation.


It’s truly an amazing (and little frightening) experience to step into these rusty flying cabins that are known as the “death-defying metal coffins”. Chiatura is a strange and charming city where you can still feel the ghost of the Soviet Empire.





7. BATUMI

Batumi is a modern city on the coast of the Black Sea. It’s the second biggest city in Georgia and honestly, it doesn’t really feel like you’re in Georgia.


One moment you can hear the church bells ringing, the next you hear the muezzin’s call to prayer coming from the mosques (Batumi is right near the border with Turkey).


The architecture is a combination of European and Asian styles, often mixed with fairy-tale like towers, statues and buildings created by some hallucinating architects. This is definitely visible at night when the majority of the building is lit up and bathing in the colors of the rainbow.


Batumi is a ‘glamorous’ city, designed to attract tourists and gamblers to play in one of its many casinos. You love it or you hate it but we absolutely enjoyed living there for three months when there were barely any tourists around.




8. USHGULI & OTHER VILLAGES IN SVANETI

Located in northwestern Georgia and locked in the heart of the Caucasus mountains lies the historic province Svaneti. The only way to get there is by driving from Zugdidi to Mestia along steep windy roads looking over beautiful gorges, wild rivers, and majestic mountains.



Svaneti consists of several small villages, built on the slopes of the snow-covered mountains and surrounded by the breathtaking scenery of alpine meadows. Walking around in these picturesque villages that are dominated by tower-houses, gives you the feeling that you’re thrown back into the European Middle Ages.



One village truly mesmerized us: Ushguli. This village is part of one of the highest inhabited settlements in Europe, at about 2200m above sea level.



It is very remote, the only road to get there is very rough and bumpy but oh so beautiful! The inhabitants live a remote and unique life. They ride on horses through the cobblestone streets while pigs, dogs, cows and goats walk next to them on the little paths. It feels like time stood still there!


Unfortunately, it’s also the most touristic village in the area (Mestia not included) but there are plenty of other villages in the area that not many tourists visit.




9. OMALO & OTHER VILLAGES IN TUSHETI

Tusheti is one of the most beautiful and fascinating regions of Georgia. It’s located in northeast Georgia, on the northern slopes of the Great Caucasus Mountains. There is only one road that goes to the area over the treacherous 2900m Abano Pass.



It’s a beautiful mountain pass but it’s also considered as one of the most dangerous roads in the world. You need a 4×4 vehicle and nerves of steel to cross the pass but it is definitely worth it! The road to Tusheti is only open for 5 months (late May to early October).



The inhabitants, the Tushs or Tushetians, nowadays only go up there during summer to graze their cattle, organize traditional festivals, provide accommodation and tours for tourists and reconnect with their roots. In winter they live in the lowland villages of Alvani and Akhmeta in Kakheti.




10. SIGHNAGI

Georgia has its share of big cities and tourist attractions but what’s really special about my country, are the small towns. Sighnaghi is one of them.


Sighnaghi – photo by Irma Laghadze


Here you can experience the best that the region of Kakheti has to offer: some of the best food & wine, beautiful tiny streets and houses with colorful wooden balconies, breathtaking views over the Alazani valley, the smell coming from the bakeries, a variety of fancy castles and small family-owned wine cellars and vineyards.


Sighnaghi – photo by Irma Laghadze



11. SHATILI KHEVSURETI

Shatili Khevsureti is a mysterious medieval fortress village, surrounded by huge green mountains. Be sure that the diversity of the scenery will amaze any traveler and inspire incurable travel lust in everyone.


Modern life hasn’t penetrated this region in Georgia yet. Locals put all of their efforts into pleasing their guests, assuring that they are always comfortable and happy.

During important feasts, the local people put on their folk costumes and go to the church where ancient pagan traditions, mixed with Christian beliefs, are still being practiced.


Shatili – photo by Koba Petriashvili



12. JUTA, CHAUKHI (2200M)

Adding superlatives to describe the surroundings of Juta is pointless. If you have the chance, just pack your bags and go. You won’t regret it!


Juta – photo by Koba Petriashvili


Juta is the most peaceful and green place in Georgia and one of the most popular climbing and trekking areas among professional climbers. There are also many equally pleasant walks to be done around the village.


Juta – photo by Koba Petriashvili



13. KAZBEGI

Kazbegi is really an amazing travel spot for every taste and budget. From luxury lovers to hitchhikers, everyone can find something here to his or her liking.


the Gergeti Trinity Church in Kazbegi – photo by Irma Laghadze


There are plenty of walks through the amazing valleys and one will lead you to the Gergeti Trinity Church, located at an altitude of 2170m. You also shouldn’t miss out on the hike to the Gergeti Glacier!

On the way from Tbilisi to Kazbegi, along the Military Highway, you’ll pass the Ananuri Castle,the Jinvaly water reservoir and the Russia-Georgia friendship monument.



Russia – Georgia friendship monument in winter


14.THE CANYONS OF MARTVILI

Martvili is located in the Samegrelo region in the western part of Georgia and is 280km away from Tbilisi.

The canyon, caves and waterfalls were formed over time by the Abasha River and you can enjoy the scenery and amazing views of the dark green canyon by taking a boat trip in the river.


Martvili Canyon – photo by Beqa Tours


The price per small boat (6 pax) is GEL 35 ($ 15). Working hours: 10 am to 6 pm; every day except on Monday.

You can also book a day trip with fun activities to the Martvili Canyon:



15. BAKHMARO

Bakhmaro is situated 2,000 meters above sea level and known as the highest alpine climatic resort in Georgia.

Camp above the clouds, take pictures of the milky way, feel the real vibes of rural Georgia, catch a glimpse of the sun setting on the Black Sea, enjoy magnificent views, pick berries and mushrooms in the forest, cuddle up by the campfire, wake to the faint hint of the early morning sunlight and enjoy the sweet sounds of nature – this is what visiting Bakhmaro is about.




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